Let it go,
We start off in the past, with something retold -- Snow and Charming's first meeting -- then something we knew but maybe hadn't seen -- lil Emma Swan watching another kid leave the orphanage instead of her -- and Robin Hood losing his Maid Marion. It will all be relevant later, but forget the intro stuff -- what kind of magic does the casting department on "Once Upon a Time" have? The actress who plays young Emma Swan is strikingly similar to
Tangent. Continuing on, Charming and Snow decide to have a naming ceremony for the new baby at Granny's diner. Robin and Queen Regina will join the party later, but they have a moment to themselves first. A bit of wine, a romantic dinner, both talking about how they horribly lost the loves of their lives -- that sort of thing. Regina mentions Tinker Bell's premonition of love and the lion tattoo, and commence with the kissy face.
Rumpel also prepares to go to Granny's for the naming ceremony, but first puts away the dagger that controls him as Belle walks in with the fake dagger, hoping Rumpel can put it away someplace safe. Like the vault that he has with no doors; the one for only the most dangerous and unstable magic. WHAT?! That's a place I want to visit. Rumpel wants Belle to keep it as a symbol of trust and love, and commence with the kissy face.
Uh-oh. While at Granny's, after Emma has run off trying to avoid talking about leaving Storybrooke, they notice that Zelena's time portal from last episode is open. They rush -- they being the core group of Regina, Rumpel, Belle, Charming -- to check on Zelena, and see that she has escaped. But hey, this is 2014 -- so there's security cameras in the jail, albeit taped on Beta. A wave of Rumpel's finger, and his murder of Zelena is not to be found, and off the tape. He makes it look like magical suicide. Regardless, though, her portal is open and no one should go near it.
Emma goes near it. She and Hook were chatting about how she doesn't see herself as part of the fairy tale world, so she doesn't really feel at home in Storybrooke and wants to return to New York. Emma: "Home is the place that when you leave, you just miss it." She says that she never missed Storybrooke, apparently. Then they see the light from the barn. Hook attempts to pull the ultra gung-ho Emma away from the dangerous glowy area, but to no avail. The doors swing open and Emma is sucked into the portal despite Hook's help. Once again, Hook goes after her.
The duo are sucked into the time portal, and come out in the Enchanted Forest on the day that Emma's parents are supposed to meet. Their first sighting is of the Evil Queen Regina, in her menacing red and black leather splendor. Emma needs to fit in, so she dons a dress and corset, and promptly messes up the first moment that Snow White and Prince Charming meet. Dang it! So, she might never be born now, unless she and Hook can do some enchanted matchmaking. For that, they need help from Rumpelstiltskin.
The Dark One, back to his evil giggly self in the past, only partially helps them by telling them where Snow is. He'll need time to try to figure out how to open the portal, since he's been told that he will be reunited with his son if they can get back to their own time without messing up this one. He has a powerful wand, but that can't do it alone. Argh! Emma knows she shouldn't be messing with the past, and mutters under her breath about Belle and Rumpel being together!?! Come on, Em. Now it's just annoying, but later it's downright mean and could be lethal. Anyway, after failing to rob Prince Charming's carriage and meeting him for the first time, Snow White enlists Blackbeard to take her far away from the forest. He says no, though it seemed that he took her money anyway.
So, as the plan now goes, Emma seduces a drunken Captain Hook from the past in a tavern while the sober Hook sets Snow on the path of stealing Charming's mother's ring -- which should lead to her meeting and falling in love with Charming. He does so by offering her passage on his ship. It succeeds and he and Emma prepare to exit the ship, but Killian stops to knock his drunken self out for mistreating Emma. Self hate is an ugly thing, Hook.
They've basically done their part, but they'd like to go to a ball where Snow will take care of her part. Rumpel, acting as their fairy godfather, gives Hook and Emma new clothes to go attend the ball while he tries to conjure up the time portal.
We go back to Portland in 2001. Emma goes on a breaking-and-entering date with Neal. They take a romantic ride on a carousel, talking about their home lives. It's here that we hear the "miss your home" line that Emma used earlier. Flashbacks can keep Neal alive forever!
Back to the Enchanted Forest. So, Snow gets into the castle while Hook and Emma are waltzing about -- Emma's first ball too. Snow steals the ring but is caught by Charming. She gets away, but Hook and Emma help that along by fighting off pursuers. Emma, though, is caught and thrown into the Evil Queen's jail. There she meets a mysterious woman and befriends her.
Charming, who Snow hit very hard on her escape from the castle, catches her out in the forest. The smooth-talking Hook intervenes, though, and gets Snow and Charming to help break into Regina's castle to get Emma back, and Charming's ring (that will eventually be Snow's).
Snow sends Little Red Riding Hood the werewolf to get them into the castle. Red transforms and leads the way. Spoiling their rescue, though, Emma finds a way out of the prison, and decides to bring her new friend along. Dang it, Emma!!!! Who knows what's going to happen, but it can't be good. This is probably some witch like Maleficent or someone worse who will rain holy vengeance on the world. We'll see. Oh, and Snow White decides to sneak into the castle to confront Regina and use black fairy dust on her.
This turns out to be a bad idea. The Queen captures her, and burns her alive at the stake! Wow. We knew Regina hated Snow but may have never been sure exactly how much until we watch her actually kill Snow. Regina might be nice now but do not get her mad. Emma is broken-hearted, and while Hook tries to comfort her, a bug bothers them incessantly. Charming stops Hook from killing the bug, remembering that the black fairy dust turns people into bugs. Yep, it's Snow, who apparently turned herself into a bug to escape Regina's fire. The Blue Fairy is called to turn her back into a human. Whoopee!
And now we get to know why Rumpel's vault was even mentioned in the first place. Hook and Emma returnto Rumpel's castle with an unconscious tag-along. Emma and Hook decided to take Emma's fellow prison break pal along since she was supposed to die in this timeline anyway. Rumpel figures out that he can't use the wand to get Emma and Hook back -- only someone who went through the portal can cast the spell. Since Emma has lost her powers, she can't do it. So he decides to forget all of his future-knowledge and puts Emma, Hook and their unconscious friend in the vault, along with lots of powerful artifacts. Once inside, Hook uncharacteristically grabs a vase/jar of some sort and places it haphazardly out of the trunk that it was in. Emma reminds him not to touch anything.